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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

9/8/10 Luke 15:8-10 Celebrating Over One Individual

8 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

(Parable of the Lost Drachma by Domenico Feti 1618-22)

Thoughts: One thing that these three parables in Luke 15 share- lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son is not only that there was a losing, but also that there was a rejoicing in each case (15:7,10,24).  The lost sheep emphasizes that God is concerned about the individual who is lost.  The lost coin emphasizes how much he is concerned- searching .  The concern spills over into how much the woman rejoices.  God not only cares for us as individuals, but rejoices over our being found by Him- as individuals.  Ten coins were lost, but one was found and celebrated.  This is not the utilitarian way of doing things- where the majority rules and the minority is ignored.  God does not just do what is best for all- all of the time.  He leaves the 99 to find the one.  He rejoices over one- not just cutting His losses.  God is not just concerned about the overall picture with no sympathy for His individual creations- made in His image and for whom He died.  This is an amazing providential and spiritual care.  It is not selfish for us to think that God cares for individuals and celebrates when they are found.  Rather, it adds to the greatness and glory of God to recognize His ability to do so.  It also means we can pray for the individual who is lost, wandering away, the prodigal.  But we should also celebrate with the angels of God when someone repents. 

Prayer: I rejoice, O God, in your ability, knowledge, care, and willingness to save me. Thank you that your arm is not too short to save and your ear is not too deaf to hear.

John Calvin abridged: If the angels celebrate with each other when what has wandered away has been restored, so we too- who have the same common cause with them- should be partakers of the same joy.  The rejoicing is greater because it is an unexpected good- someone destined for destruction, amputated as a rotten member of the body delivered by the amazing mercy of God! The word "repentance" here is not used of daily repentance, but of a one time conversion. Those who have already begun to regulate their lives by the divine law do not need this kind of repentance- though they must groan under the infirmities of the flesh and work to correct them.  No person is exempted from this- getting on the right road the first time.  Yet, there is a distinction between a person who leaves the road entirely and the person who merely stumbles, falls or slightly goes astray on the right road.

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